One of my all-time favorite Christian songs has to be “Refiner’s Fire” by Brian Doerksen. I absolutely love the lyrics, and I must say that this line always tears me up:
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Before that song came out in 1990, I hadn’t really thought about what the word “holy” meant. To be honest with you, I kinda thought it meant being religious. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but that was about the sum of my knowledge. I was a churchgoer and a Bible reader; I had Christian friends, and I taught Sunday school. That was my definition of “holy.”
I later came to realize that being holy meant that we are dedicated to the Lord and set apart from all things impure:
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” —1 Peter 1:15–16
The word “holy” in the Greek text is hagios, coming from the word hagnos, which is defined in Strong’s Concordance (G53) as:
exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure :
a) pure from carnality, chaste, modest
b) pure from every fault, immaculate
In the same way, it’s a beautiful thing when a husband and wife live in holy matrimony. When a man and a woman are dedicated to each other and set apart from anything that could destroy or damage their union.
This requires sacrifice on our part. Sacrifice might be anything from giving up something that distracts us from our relationships to making career choices. I hope and pray that we are living this way to please God—but let us also give attention to pleasing our husbands.
Saying “I do” and being united in holy matrimony is more than a ceremony. It’s a lifelong commitment of giving. And in the same way that being holy is more than attending church and reading the Bible, marriage is more than just living in the same house and putting up with each other. It’s a continual giving of ourselves in dedication, one to another.